cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Highlighted
Established Community Backer ***

Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

Stocksy-Up Arrows- pt 4.jpg

 

 

Ever pondered this 18th-century conundrum: “If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, here’s a new version of the question, restated for folks who work for themselves: “If you’re open for business but no one’s buying, are you actually in business?”

 

Ouch!

 

Rather than think too hard on this brain-straining riddle, we’re here to offer up some strategies to ensure a steady stream of satisfied buyers are keeping your business not just open but booming. Maybe you’ve already read our checklist for getting ready for customers and our post about three key customer insights to help you build a better business. Now you’re ready to explore the next level of ideas and actions around growing and expanding your customer base.

 

Fact: A repeat customer is your cheapest (and best!) customer

 

Did you know you’ll spend five times more money attracting a new customer than you would satisfying an existing one? It’s not rocket science to figure out customer retention is far more cost-effective than customer acquisition. Not only that, says Todd Eby, customer success expert and founder of SuccessHacker, marketing only to new customers is risky. “If you solely focus on acquisition, you’re going to find it harder and harder to acquire new business as you saturate your market and pluck all the low hanging fruit.”

 

A smarter strategy, says Todd, is aiming for repeat business from the get-go. You’ll save money in the long run, since investing in ever-more creative ways to reach new customers adds up quickly. You’ll also fast track your business growth thanks to this fundamental truth: Repeat customers are happy customers. Happy customers say great things about a business. A business with a rock-star reputation naturally attracts new customers.

 

A final thought from Todd: When retention is top of mind, “you’ll start exploring what else you can offer and how you can become more "sticky.” You move beyond being just a vendor and become a trusted advisor.”

 

Armed with these important insights, let’s explore tactics for turning one-time clients into dedicated and loyal buyers.

 

1. Give your goods and services away for free

 

Yes, you read that right! You’ll score brownie points with both existing and potential customers when you share select product or services with no strings attached. Note the word “select.” You should think carefully and strategically about what you’re offering gratis – and why. The following insights might steer you in the right direction.

 

Selling services? Establish yourself as a thought leader or industry expert. If you’re a web designer, a marketing consultant, an accountant or a personal trainer (or something else entirely), you’re selling a service or an expertise. Creating and sharing relevant information about your industry solidifies your reputation as a leader in your field, which, in turn, helps you build and grow your audience. Here are some knowledge-sharing strategies from our QB Community members:

 

“I teach free classes about non-profits at our public library. In my experience, it can take a year or two of running a monthly class or a regular meet-up before people realize the value. The media wants us to believe success happens overnight. It doesn’t. But if you keep building personal connections, you will create a following.” -- Dawn Brown, CPA and founder of AZ Business Consulting

 

I grow my email list by offering free information for business owners and continuing to help them as they grow. My newsletter lets me establish a relationship and build trust with my audience. When they're in a position to grow their presence online further, then I'm a natural first step.” – Nick Leffler, online presence coordinator and owner of Exprance

 

“Identify relevant topics and blog about them. Blogs are a great way to stay engaged with clients while remaining relevant and top of mind. This is particularly true if you are helping solve day-to-day problems related to the service that you offer. The key thing is building trust and fostering the belief that you’re a knowledgeable expert who can help when it’s time to engage on a project or make a purchase.” – Todd Eby, customer success expert and founder of SuccessHacker

 

Selling products? Find a creative approach to freebies that works for you. Product giveaways let you reward existing customers and motivate potential buyers. Of course, determining what your freebie will be takes careful consideration and a dash of creativity. One QB Community member offers this guidance: “Rewards work when properly implemented. Just remember that they can set expectations. A reward should never eat into your operational costs. They should be a percentage of your margins. Labor, product and operating expenses should always be covered. Otherwise, your profits are negative, and the rewards are a loss to your business.”

 

Let’s see how other folks who work for themselves approach product giveaways.

“I offer a taste-test of what I'm selling (breads in a jar and other items). I joke that it’s "food for thought" until next time.” – Baked goods guru and active QB Community member since 2016

 

“Stamp cards are awesome tools for me. Ten stamps fill a card, and you get a freebie upon redemption. It's incentive for people to keep coming back for more. It's also a way of saying "Thank you" to customers who do business with me.” – Entrepreneur and QB Community member since 2016

 

Other out-of-the-box freebies to consider:

  • Offer a surprise gift with a minimum purchase.
  • Provide no-charge delivery for a minimum order or for any referral.
  • Create a challenge or contest, and reward the winner with a goodie bag packed with your products.

 

(Want more ideas? Check out this post.)

 

2. Beyond cat videos: Go deep with targeted demographics on social media

 

These days, social media platforms are packed with a lot more than just adorable pet videos. In fact, they offer an incredible wealth of information about your current and prospective target audience. Facebook, in particular, let’s you specify all manner of demographics about viewers you want your post to reach, from gender and age to hobbies, profession, physical location and much, much more. (Is your ideal customer a 26-year-old woman who eats gluten-free, lives in the Midwest and loves tattoos, hot air balloons and knitting? No problem. You’ll find her!)

 

Analyzing and then leveraging insights gleaned from highly targeted online posts and campaigns gives you a huge leg-up on identifying and reaching your audience.

 

“Facebook is a solid platform for exploring “persuasion marketing ” or “neuromarketing.” My advice: understand as much as you can about why people buy something – and why they don’t. What catches someone’s attention and motivates them to go from cold (no action) to hot (taking action)? When it comes to social media, I’m a “maximizer,” which means I’m very good at leveraging things in different ways. For example, I post inspirational photographs and messages on Instagram and then make those items available as calendars and notecards. I’m doing everything I can to build a “top of mind” brand presence.”– Keith Engelhardt, founder of NeuroYoga Zone

 

“Social media is without doubt the most important marketing tool I've used so far. My target demographic spends more time consuming information via social media than they do watching TV or reading magazines. There isn't a day that goes by when I'm not uploading a new tutorial, adding images to my online portfolio, engaging with my followers or updating my paid ads. I think the key to a successful social media campaign is to constantly be on top of the action.” Lottie Hadwen, founder of Makeup by Lottie

 

“Our biggest marketing efforts go into social media, because that's where we see the best potential. For example, when someone comments on one of our Instagram photos, we use the direct message feature to send them a coupon code. It makes them feel special! We've also tried running targeted ads on Facebook and we use Google AdWords to drive traffic to our website via search keywords.” Adam and Shaun Lee, founders of Bohemian Guitars

 

You need to conduct a methodical exploration to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Watch the return on investment (ROI) like a hawk. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money away – and money is the one thing you’ll always run out of. Our weekly MailChimp newsletters have the highest ROI. It only takes me an hour to put together an email, and we can track exactly how much money each campaign generates. Danielle Vincent, founder of Outlaw Soaps

 

3. Embrace timeless marketing tactics: business cards, cold-calls and great service

 

Sure, social media opens the high-tech door to deep customer insights and analysis. But let’s not forget the power of good ol’ fashioned marketing techniques. Here are some tried, tested and totally true tactics that are absolutely worth remembering.

 

“What’s been super effective is leaving our printed materials – postcards, brochures, business cards – at all the local real estate offices. I’ve paid to join a vendors’ program, too, which means I can attend regular meetings and network with agents and brokers. I’ll be presenting about our company at an upcoming event. It’s definitely worth the fee!” – Cheri Drake, founder of Sisters Staging

 

“My best marketing strategy is working as a vendor at various local events. It helps so much when people can try on the product and compare styles. Customers wear their new shades straight from my booth, so they become walking advertisements for the brand. Beth Arca, founder of Bright Futures Eyewear

 

“You can go to your county's office and get a list of all the new businesses that registered for the month. Cold-call them or send a letter describing your services.” Ray White, founder of Ray White Enterprises (accounting software)

 

We are a creative agency creating animated videos. One client wanted a video for a digital marketing event. We worked almost seven days and late nights straight to make the tight deadline. The client used the video for his product demo and won the Best Product award. Now we have a lifetime customer and a great referral.” Mini Sarin, founder of SocioPixels

 

4. Do it all (well, just about)

 

Not sure which marketing approach will do the most to grow your business? Why not try ‘em all! We’re pretty sure that’s what freelance musician Matt Clackett would say, considering his description of a multipronged approach to marketing:

 

“Word of mouth is the biggest asset for any self-employed professional. I've found that social media really helps experts get the word out about their work in a niche field. I write a blog that I update frequently, and I’m always looking to learn and contribute to online forums and networks. It’s the 21st century version of going to jam sessions. I have large networks on Facebook and LinkedIn, which need to be utilized in different ways. On Facebook, I post interesting articles sparingly. LinkedIn is a great tool for contacting people I’d like to speak to directly. I rarely post articles or comments, although I do read interesting stuff there. I haven’t even scratched the surface of Twitter yet.” – Matt Clackett, freelance musician and music consultant

 

Wow, Matt, we’re impressed!

 

Before you go

 

All the marketing tips and tactics we’ve shared in this post will help you build a solid base of new and repeat customers. As you work toward forging lasting relationships with loyal, long-term customers (every business owner’s dream!), we hope you’ll share what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to reaching customers and clients in your field. Remember, your ideas and insights are important.

 

And let’s face it: Sharing marketing tips means no one has to consider this highly, uh, “creative” strategy for keeping customers (suggested by one lighthearted QB Community member): Zip ties!

 

QB Community members, what’s your best strategy for building your customer base? Share your tips -- and check out this post for more ideas from our awesome members!

18 Comments
Community Backer **

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

This is extremely helpful! I have been thinking of hosting a free tax information class regarding the new tax reforms. However, I didn't think anyone would attend. That big four letter word is lurking -FEAR. This read was exactly what I needed to put things in motion!

Experienced Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

This is a fantastic article rich with great advice. +1

Active Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

lol that's funny. You can't get customers advertising on Facebook. I've done it multiple times and spent hundreds of dollars. You ONLY EVER get likes on your post. Never ever will you get a customer from Facebook advertising. Most people that like your posts are in different countries with chinese characters as their name but their profile indicates they're local. That's because it's a fake profile. Someone in China pretending to live close to you.

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar


@personaltouch wrote:

lol that's funny. You can't get customers advertising on Facebook. I've done it multiple times and spent hundreds of dollars. You ONLY EVER get likes on your post. Never ever will you get a customer from Facebook advertising. Most people that like your posts are in different countries with chinese characters as their name but their profile indicates they're local. That's because it's a fake profile. Someone in China pretending to live close to you.


 

@personaltouch thanks for weighing in! I too have spent $$ on boosting FB posts that never seemed to do much for my business. Do you think social media marketing may be more effective in some sectors compared to others? If Facebook isn't delivering customers for you, are there any other social media platforms that do convert for you? Where are you currently putting your marketing dollars and how is that going?

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar


@Copley_Broer wrote:

This is a fantastic article rich with great advice. +1


 

Hi @Copley_Broer - thanks for commenting! Which points did you find most helpful? Have you implemented any of these tips in your business and, if so, what's been your experience?

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

@personaltouch

 

Too true, paying for social media advertising does not work well at all most of the time.

 

I found that even though our store has a large (for this remote area) following, and a lot of shares and likes, it has less than a 5% effect on sales (number of sales not value of sales), (my home grown survey metrics). New customer acquisition is less than one percent. And it appears to rarely cause those who are normally repeat customers to increase their visits.


Announcing a sale does not mean much, announcing a clearance sale up to 80% off is a little better. Strangely enough, announcing either one of those sales as a limited 2 hour window after normal closing time for online FB followers only- works like a customer pied piper.


What makes it really funny is people who come in, make a purchase and confide in us that they do not follow FB but heard about it from a friend ...... they feel so special having put one over on us! People are so strange in their perception of special.


But if you were offering services of some type that was more of a one on one relationship I can see that working better.

Community Explorer **

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

It's going to be difficult to see any direct ROI on your social media advertising, much less your efforts; however, if done correctly Facebook advertising can be extremely effective (and efficient!) @EmilyCowan - that little "Boost" button on your FB biz page was a great move on FB's part to make money..."Just push this one button and voila! You're advertising on social media like everyone says to do!" ...except you're not. "Boosting" a post (in a broad sense) is like Googling "white shirt" and hoping the exact v-neck, womens, pocket-T, size Medium pops up. It MAY, but you're going to get a lot of other white shirts that you don't want. BUT, if you were to put a little strategy behind your search, say "white shirt, cotton, v neck, women's, medium, pocket" your results will be more meaningful to you - meaning, you'll be more likely to find what you're looking for. The same can be said for FB ad campaigns: if you run an actual campaign, with a clear objective, one that includes a thought-out strategy/plan, creative and testing you have a better chance at connecting with more meaningful customers (people who are more likely to buy from you). I've also used FB paid and nonpaid across various sectors/industries and really haven't come across one that it doesn't work for to some effect. The great thing about social media is you can sell toilet paper and as long as your strategy is targetted and your content is relevant anyone can be a hero in that space! 

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

Hey @hilkemp - a warm welcome to QB Community and thank you for that thoughtful response!

 

Agreed, Facebook's "boost" function does not a marketing strategy make. Social media is a strange animal in that, unlike traditional media like print, radio, and TV, the entire experience is engineered to encourage and reward messaging from friends. When you boost a post, the message reads as coming from Facebook, not you the seller. We may market our products to a target audience based on age, interests, what-have-you, but in my experience social media audience tends to be far more wary of who is doing the messaging - "Who are you? Do I know you? Why should I care what you have to say?" - because they've been trained to do so.

 

I've also tried boosting posts not to sell products or services but to get more page likes, to build a self-selected audience that may be more receptive to marketing messaging from me. What do you think? Potentially successful strategy or just throwing good money after bad?

Momentum to $1 Million Host

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

@hilkemp, as I was reading through the posts, I was waiting for someone to respond exactly the way you did! I agree 100%. Strategic FB ad campaigns have allowed me to engage over 5 figures in new clients. There is absolutely a science behind it (and yes, boosting posts are a waste of money @EmilyCowan - been there, done that), and if done properly, can yield EXPONENTIAL results! 

 

@hilkemp, you should join us in the Momentum to $1 Million group here in the QB Community! Just click here and then the green JOIN button and you're in! It's all about scaling a service business to a million or more... See you there? J. 

Active Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

You're not doing it right, then. You need to target more specifically to your area with your Facebook ads.  When boosting a post on your businesses FB Page, you can select the geographical range, age group and gender of the people more likely to see your ad.  I highly recommend you choose the audience titled, "people who like your page, and their friends" for a few ads. If Joe sees his friend Karen likes your page, you've already gained their trust, and their more likely to choose you over a competitor.  Let your ad run for a few weeks, update it, and keep your page relevant.   IMO Video ads tend to work a lot better and you can make them yourself for free! Just use power-point to create a captivating slideshow, and you can add free music offered by Facebook or from YouTube, then export it as an mp4 video.  I've gotten several clients from Facebook ads.  Don't get discouraged if you don't receive many leads immediately. You can't put a price on brand recognition. The more people to see your logo, slogan or ad, the more people associate it with their needs and even if it's not today, tomorrow next month or next year, when they need what you offer, you'll be one of the first businesses they think of.

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

Hey @JohnP - welcome to QB Community and thanks for weighing in! It sounds like you've netted some positive results from sponsored Facebook posts. That's awesome Smiley Happy

 

I'm curious: Do you think some small businesses are better positioned than others to benefit from this type of social media play, or is "meh" return on investment usually the fault of so-so visuals and/or poorly targeted messaging? 

 

Are you advertising on Facebook exclusively or are you leveraging other platforms as well? 

Established Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

This was super awesome. We own a wedding venue in Atlanta Georgia and our Wedding Planners plan destination weddings worldwide.  We receive a lot of referrals but the light bulb just went off - that we should capitalize on this... perfect!! We will send follow up thank you cards and start sending 2019 logo items as a thank you and offer an incentive for referrals ...love this.

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

Hey @Weddingsandmore - a very warm welcome to QB Community. That's an awesome pic!

 

I'd love to hear more about your business. It's cool that you're able to offer a venue for local weddings as well as destination event planning. That sounds like a quite an operation! Are you currently relying on referrals only or are there other marketing strategies in the mix (social, advertising, etc.)? What's working for you right now?

Established Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

We have a retail store with products that we sell.  I can say that Facebook has been huge for us...because we post these new products as they arrive in our store.  I am talking about posting pictures 2-3 times daily.  We typically boost 2-3 ads per week and spend around $150-$250 per month on facebook advertising.  We have had huge success...but it takes time to build this.  In 3 years of consistently advertising in a 50 mile radius we now have almost 10,000 page followers.  We do not sell anything online...but only in store.  People come into our store everyday purchasing the products that we show on our boosts or just on what we post.  You have to be consistent...and putting things on instagram also helps.

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

That's amazing, @joesmiley! Congratulations on building your Facebook following to 10,000. Ads may attract new eyeballs, but it takes a lot to cut through the clutter and actually get folks to click and like. What would you say is your page's greatest strength? Awesome graphics? Telling your small-business story in an engaging and compelling way? Both?

 

I hope you'll add the Facebook link to your profile page so we can all check it out!

Established Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

I think telling our story helps us.  We are lucky to be in the middle of downtown Fort Wayne, in an old historic home, and the area is in the process of being re-invented and repurposed.  We are part of a community of 24 individual shops..all of which are in other historic homes or historic commercial structures.  We support each other and have formed an association called the West End Shops. We share this story on Facebook and have printed materials with a map of all the shops, that we all pass out in our stores. Our goal is to make our little area a shopping destination and a fun shopping experience for the entire family or just a ladies adventure.  Here is our link to our facebook page.     www.facebook.com/smileysjoyfortwayne

 

Experienced Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

Thank you so much for this article!  I just went out full time on my own (YIKES) and marketing is by far where I am weak.  I appreciate all the helpful tips you shared!

Active Member

Re: Getting Customers: Four Marketing Tactics to Help Your Customer Base Soar

 advertise on facebook all the time you need to go directly to pages that offer services or selling items. I never have paid for any advertising on facebook. But I do have a facebook page for my business and I do post in all the service and sale pages I can. It has produced me and other company friends I have multiple sales.  None of us have ever spent a dime on FaceBook either